How Far Can You Drive On A Full Size Spare Tire?

For someone who has spent a few months or many years driving a car, an extra tire is definitely one of the consequential things to have in case of a flat tire.

You cannot predict what could happen to your car tyre as you move on the road, so just in case, you need a spare to continue your journey.

However, there are different replacement tires, and choosing the right one is important.

Thus, the aim of this article is to discuss the various types and give more insight intohow long can you drive on a full-size option?

Types of Spare Tires

The choice of spare tires often determines usability and the maximum distance you can travel. That being said, the different types are:

Full-Size Spare Tire

Ideally, most extra tires that come with vehicles (i.e., passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs) are full-sized tires.

They are durable options and they come in different forms such as – matching, non-matching, and temporary tires.

Full-Size Matching Spare Tire:

The regular spare tire that comes with vehicles is the full-size matching tire. It is designed as the perfect fit for cars and must be rotated accordingly for optimum use.

One major merit of this tyre is that it has an incredible aesthetic design. As a matter of fact, you can use it the longest.

Full-Size Non-Matching Spare Tire:

A non-matching tire is a different option even if it is a full-sized extra tyre. It doesn’t have the same design as most standard tires and may not necessarily follow a rotation pattern.

This type of tire can only be used for some time.

Full-Size Temporary Spare Tire:

Another short-term full-size spare is the Temporary tire. It is a lightweight choice and can only be used for the short term. Interestingly, it meets most vehicles’ specifications.

Compact Temporary Spare Tire:

The Compact Temporary Spare Tire is also another option for spares, only that it is lightweight, has a shallow tread depth, and can only be used within a short time.

To use the compact temporary tyre, it must meet the specs of your vehicle – check the car manual to see if it is.

More so, you will need to increase air pressure. Overall, you should have it replaced with a new or better tyre after the trip.

Folding Temporary Spare Tire:

As the name implies, the Folding Temporary Spare Tire is a collapsible option and often requires pumping air (inflating) to use it.

This tyre isn’t always the best option because it takes time to pump air before mounting it; however, it can be quite effective during emergencies.

Run Flat Tire:

A run-flat tire is another popular option and it is often found in most BMWs and Corvettes. However, most times, you might have to get them separately on the market.

This tyre is designed to withstand impact or puncture for some time. It allows you to drive to a safe location so that you can replace or get a new one.

Donut Spare or Space Saver Tire:

The donut spare tire (or space-saver spare tire) is another fantastic option and does exactly what it is described to do – saves the wheels until you can get replacements.

Space saver spare tires are smaller than full-size spare tires. They are mostly found in the trunk or beneath floorboards.

What’s the Average Mileage for Each?

Before you drive on a replacement tyre, one of the important things to consider is the mileage. You should know how long or far you can drive until you get your tires replaced or fixed.

The full-size spare tire is designed to be durable for a heavy or large vehicle. It is sturdy and can get you within 50 to 100 miles at a maximum speed of 50 Mph.

That is a reasonable distance to get you to a nearby tire shop.

The donut spare or space-saver tire is the next when it comes to covering a wide range of distance. However, you can cover up to 70 miles at a speed of 50 Mph.

The same goes for run-flat (zero pressure), folding temporary, and compact temporary tires.

How long can a full-size spare tire last?

Full spare tire on car

If you have a full-size spare, you should expect the tyre to last between 7 to 10 years.

It gets even better if the replacement is from the same manufacturer as your car’s original tires. You can check the owner’s manual to see information about its use.

However, this extra tyre should be handled carefully – no visible damage to the sidewall because it could be dangerous.

Is it bad to drive on a full-size spare?

No, it isn’t. It is almost similar to many regular tires in functionality.

From the list of spares available on the market, the full-sized is the most efficient.

It is an incredible choice of spare because it is safe, sturdy, and more reliable. In fact, it is better than the space saver donut spare tire.

And for the record, you can drive up to 100 miles with this tire.

How far can you drive on a full-size spare wheel?

As aforementioned, full-size spares are almost similar to regular tires.

When attached properly to the wheel, especially the matching types, the rotatory tread pattern will guarantee easy movement on the road.

And according to the reports, they can get you up to 100 miles at a 50 mph speed – higher than those that save space, i.e., donut spares.

What happens if you drive too far on a spare tire?

Every standard tire has its mileage – so do spare tyres.

Now, when you drive an extra tyre past the recommended distance per speed, there could be problems. It could affect other car parts and ultimately jeopardize your safety.

Transmission Damage

Whether you drive on a donut space-saver spare, a full-size spare, or a run-flat tire, over the recommended distance, i.e., past 50 miles at 50 mph, you could have a damaged transmission.

And with a bad transmission, you could start experiencing problems with your gear – it starts to shift or slip until you lose total control – resulting in an accident.

Tire Blowout

Another situation you may find yourself in if you drive on a spare past the recommended mileage is a blowout.

As you keep driving on the tyre, the pressure reduces. And you know that a tire with a low pressure means a flat tire or a possible blowout.

That is why when you replace your original tires with spares, you should only drive to get to a safe distance where you can get proper roadside assistance.

When Does An Extra Tire Need To Be Replaced?

One of the things most people don’t realize is that extra tires also need to be replaced after some time. It doesn’t even matter if you haven’t used the extra tyre before.

If there are visible damages to the tyre, you should replace it immediately. However, if there aren’t, check the tire’s sidewall for the mileage.

Most space saver spares and other tires available often come with a 10-year usability/replacement period.

You cannot maintain pressure for so long; it reduces with each passing year. Besides, rubber degrades gradually and loses flexibility. Eventually, micro-cracks appear, making the tire dangerous and useless.

Can You Repair Run Flat Tires?

No, you cannot.

Most people are of the opinion that if a regular tire can be repaired, then there shouldn’t be exceptions to spares.

However, there is a line that should never be crossed and that is with run-flat tires. These are specially designed tires packed with great durability and performance.

That means they are entirely different from other tires. Repairing run-flat tires only affect their already compromised internal structure.

If you encounter problems with run-flat tires, you may still be able to move up a few miles until you get to a service center for help. In most cases, you will have to buy new sets of tires.

Final Thoughts

How long can you drive on a spare tire?The simple answer is 50 to 100 miles, depending on the type. 

And as you move with the extra tyre, you should make sure your sole priority is getting to the nearest service center or tire shop to repair or replace the old one for use.

In the worst-case scenario, you would have to buy a new tire. 


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

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